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Virginia Educated: A Post-College Outcomes Study

Looking back. Thinking ahead.

What is Virginia Educated?
Virginia Educated is a special effort of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) to learn more about the value and impact of the undergraduate experience. The centerpiece of this research study is a unique survey of recent certificate and degree recipients. The survey collects information on traditional economic outcome measures such as wages, employment, and career satisfaction, but it goes beyond this. The Virginia Educated questionnaire also gathers data about community involvement, student debt burden, personal networking and overall quality of life, and it allows you to provide feedback in your own words.

The Virginia Educated survey represents an opportunity for the state of Virginia to hear directly from you about your undergraduate experience and how it has affected your life – positively or negatively – so far. The survey offers a chance to look back on the time you spent earning your certificate or degree. The survey asks if – and how – that experience has influenced how you work, how you feel, and how you interact with others around you.

Additionally, Virginia Educated provides an open door for you to share your reflections, observations, and recommendations with state policymakers. Would you help them think ahead to the future of higher education?

More about the Virginia Educated survey: How does it work?
The Virginia Educated survey is administered in two ways. It is distributed electronically and by postal mail to scientifically-sampled alumni who completed an occupational or technical certificate, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor's degree from a state-supported institution of higher education between 2007 and 2018.

What kinds of questions are on the Virginia Educated survey?
You can expect to see questions about:
  • Overall health/general life satisfaction
  • Specific college activities, like internships
  • Employment – for example, hours worked each week
  • Student debt – for instance, if and how student loans have affected life goals
  • Community activities, like volunteering
  • Staying in, or moving out of, Virginia after finishing your undergraduate education
  • General demographics, such as how many people live in your household

The questions are geared toward diverse student experiences, including but going beyond the traditional, full-time undergraduate student attending a four-year institution right out of high school.

Do I have to participate? What will you do with the information I provide?
Participation in the Virginia Educated survey is completely voluntary. In addition, if you choose to allow it, your survey responses can be linked to administrative data currently collected and maintained by SCHEV. This may include information like degree(s) received, field(s) of study, wages, and student loan amounts.

We hope you will choose to connect your survey responses to administrative data. The linkage will provide researchers with more accurate and robust information, helping Virginia’s colleges and universities to make the education they offer even better for future students.

The decision to pair your survey data with SCHEV’s administrative data is totally up to you, and your eligibility to complete the survey itself will not be affected. If you choose not to permit linkage, your survey responses will still be a valuable part of the research.

All information received – whether from the Virginia Educated survey or from SCHEV administrative sources – will be kept strictly confidential.
At the end of the study, a report will be published. All results will be discussed in aggregate, and no individuals will be named. The report will be used by SCHEV Council members, staff, and others in future policymaking activities.

Who administers Virginia Educated?
Virginia Educated is managed and conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Survey and Evaluation Research Laboratory (VCU-SERL) under contract to SCHEV. The research is approved under VCU Institutional Review Board protocol HM20017308.

How is this study funded?
The General Assembly funds Virginia Educated in its 2019 session (HB1700, Chapter 854, Item 143 Q; see:

What if I want more information?
If you have any questions about the Virginia Educated research study, please contact VCU’s SERL team at:

Telephone: (804)-827-0047

Email: surveys@schev.edu


Thank you for sharing your experiences!

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